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Russia Service Sector Growth At 7-month Low

Russia's service sector growth eased to the lowest in seven months in February, thanks to subdued domestic demand, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Wednesday.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 52.0 in February from 54.1 in January. Any score above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

New business growth was driven by a faster expansion in foreign client demand, but growth in the total sales softened to a five-month low. However, new export orders increased at the sharpest rate since last October.

Output charges decreased for the second month in a row in February, with the rate of decline being the fastest since October 2009.

Input costs logged a softer rise in February and the inflation rate was broadly unchanged.

Firms recorded a greater degree of confidence in a rise in output in the next year. The level of optimism strengthened from January, though it was the lowest in three years.

Job creation slowed in February and was the slowest in the current six-month sequence of expansion. The number of workforce increased with greater business requirements following a further rise in new orders.

Backlogs of works fell modestly in February as pressure on capacity was reduced with softer employment growth.

Overall private sector expanded in February, despite a slower rise in services sector and a contraction in the manufacturing sector. The composite output index declined to 50.9 in February from 52.6 in the previous month.

"The Russian service sector was weighed down by slower growth of domestic demand in February, with a faster rise in export orders contrasting with a weaker expansion in overall new business," Sian Jones, economist at IHS Markit, said.

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